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Sauces and Condiments

Caramel Butterscotch Sauce

Once upon a time, butterscotch was the darling of the American sweet tooth, casting its golden glow over puddings, pies, sauces, candies, cake frostings--you name it. Now there are people who've never had so much as a single, sorry instant ... Read more

Total time: 45 minutes | Makes 2 cups
  • 1 pound granulated sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Step 1Place the sugar in a small, heavy saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves, then cook without stirring until it is a deep reddish brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Pour in 1 cup of water and stand back to avoid the steam and splatter. Wait 1 minute, then add the remaining 1 cup of water and boil, stirring occasionally, until any hardened caramel has melted, 5 to 8 minutes.

Step 2Add the butter and boil until the mixture reaches 245 degrees on a candy thermometer, about 15 minutes; the coating on a spoon dipped into the mixture and then in cold water will have a gummy consistency. Stir in the cream and vanilla and simmer until it reaches the desired consistency; it should flow smoothly almost in a continuous drip off the spoon. This should take 2 to 5 minutes. Let cool, then refrigerate until use.

Note: Here's a butterscotch sauce flavored with freshly made caramel instead of molasses, which emphasizes the flavor of the lightly browned butter. It has a tendency to separate and granulate when cold, so it should be warmed up and stirred well before using. From "Sauces: Classical and Contemporary Sauce Making," by James Peterson (Van Nostrand and Reinhold, 1991).
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